3 July 2017

The Uncoupling Book Club: Week 1


Welcome, welcome! I'm looking forward to starting a book that isn't boring as hell (Moby Dick) or sad as hell (We Are Not Ourselves). Meg Wolitzer's The Uncoupling appears both short and funny, which will be a nice change of pace. I also think it will have A LOT of good discussion topics. And I assume everyone is taking part in abstinence over the next five weeks .. right?

Although after just reading the first three chapters, I assume this book will be geared towards no-sex as a result of stale, long-term relationships, rather than no-sex as a means of expressing dissatisfaction with the political climate and how it incorporates women's rights. But honestly that is fine with me, I am happy to binge watch The Handmaid's Tale. Stale long-term relationships are my FAVOURITE thing to discuss.

Some of the topics I am already interested have to do with jealousy for other people's relationships - something Meg and I talk about all the time. This is addressed early on in the book when some of the other teacher's look longingly at Dory and Robby Lang. They are jealous of the way they kiss goodbye between classes or meetings.

Another topic I can't wait to discuss is how little people like to discuss the diminishing of their sex lives ... or about how infrequently they are having sex with their long-term partner. This comes up when Wolitzer says that none of the women who are under this spell tell any of their friends about it.. This is something I think everyone needs to be more open about ... we often feel guilty / embarassed / stressed about the lack of sex we have after being in a relationship for a few years ... but honestly I think everyone would feel a lot better about it if they learned that it's 1) normal and 2) they aren't the only ones.

My favourite line so far is when Wolitzer is describing the "spell" and how it makes the women feel towards sex: "All Dory could think was that sleeping with your husband after so many years was not at all like sleeping with him when you were young. It was no longer effortless; it was full of effort, and now that she was aware of that effort, how could she ever ignore it again?"

I'm going to stop writing now because already this is probably the longest post I have ever written for a book club post ... isn't that a great sign???


3 chapters in and I'm already really worried about Meghan's inevitable unraveling and secret-spilling because we talk about the themes of this book privately a LOT. 

My first favourite part of this section was about Dory and her baby. If you're new to this blog, or me, I have a LOT of anxiety about being a parent. The quote "you will never have another day free of anxiety" re: being a parent was all I needed to hear to send me into a tailspin... I also really like that Robby and Dory only had the one child. I'm really hoping they talk about this or the reason why at some point because I find it interesting. 

I also think they're cool for just making up a last name. To be clear, I hate this couple for being so cutesy, I don't like cutesy couples who finish each others sentences (or in this case, lines from frigging The Odyssey) and don't bicker. I'm very happy for cutesy couples but I don't really believe them. I want bickering and a good "fuck you" once in a while because isn't that more honest? I DO like this couple because I think they're cool. I think being a cool English teacher who made up a new last name is cool I'd want to be their friends. 

me asking Al if I could make a
(fictional) joke about her sex life
on this blog
I don't know that any of us have been with anyone long enough for sex to have gone stale... Ally (in this book club) and her boyfriend Brandon had their 6 year mark this month so maybe them... But I do love the paragraph when Dory gets put under that spell and her describing "a mild disgust... a mild horror at being touched" because long term or not at some point mid-week we all know that feeling don't we??? "Sleeping with him was full of effort"... yes... this is what book club is all about... reading quality lines like this and discussing them with your pals and the internet.

Also everyone say what they'd be if they joined "Farrest"... I'd be a skunk. 


  1. I'm liking the book so far! I AGREE that we should get more comfortable talking about sex. I've always felt like our physical, mental and sexual health are all equally as important to prioritize and feel comfortable talking about. In addition, just as we all go through waves of engaging with a exercise, flowing through good and poor mental health, it's normal to have waves of active sexual interest and inactive.

    Dory and Robby as a couple are a bit annoying to me, so I'm interested in how their characters evolve, and in particular I'm hoping to see a little more spice to Robby as he continues to get nubbed sexually.

    1. So I thought about bailing on book club because I personally haven't been enjoying the book so far! I found myself counting down the pages until I hit the book club target for this week then let out a big woohoooo when I got to put it down. I can't really put my finger on what I dislike about it, but maybe I'll figure it out in the next five weeks. Or better yet, maybe i'll come around to it. These discussions are making it worth it though!

      So far, I do like the Langs. I find they must really have a good bond to work together all day and still have tons to talk about when they get home, especially having done it for as long as they have. To have your sex life start to unravel when your child is a old as Dory and Robby's seems like a pretty good track record to me.

      For those of you in this book club who know me, I am very obviously in a cutesy couple myself. So, I'd disagree with the pattern of non-cutesy couples being more honest. I definitely believe that some people who don't fight don't have good, open communication and bottle up feelings to avoid upsetting their partner. But I do believe that there are also tons of people who rarely fight because they know each others needs, what sets each other off, and can talk about it before it gets out of control. I look forward to seeing how long it takes Dory to discuss her new found feelings about sex with Robby. They seem like a couple who discuss everything, so I'll be frustrated at the situation they're in until Dory brings it up with Robby!

      Lastly, I agree with all of you that sexual health needs to be talked about more, and people shouldn't be so embarrassed with the stages they're at with their partners. Not everyone needs or even wants to have sex all day every day. When you hear of a couple who does, I think a lot of people feel they're maybe doing something wrong, their sex lives are inferior, or even worse start to question their attraction to one another. But i find it really similar to physical and mental wellbeing. Not everyone needs to workout 5 days a week to feel satisfied with their physical health, not everyone needs to meditate to feel level headed, and not everyone needs to have sex as much as others to feel satisfied sexually with their partners! Why are we always in competition with one another, knowing everyones needs are totally different?

    2. Wah I hate that you aren't into this book.. maybe it'll pick up for you???

      I agree with the thing about knowing each others' needs I just wanna hear you snap at Corey one time is that too much to ask? Mind you I've never heard you snap at anyone so... you're lucky I know your non-cutesy side or I wouldn't be able to stomach the two of you :):):)

      Back to the Langs though which- yes- not everybody needs to have sex all the time and it is weird that we're competative about it as though somehow it is a reflection of your relationship. Maybe if you can have sex less and things are still good that says more??? I've never thought of it in terms of health like you and Becca but its so true..

    3. I think Becca's comparison to the waves we go through with mental health, exercise and sex is veeery interesting. It also has me worried because I honestly don't know if I'd rather go to the gym or have sex. Oh god.

      And I think Marijka is also right in saying that it is definitely a comparison thing. It's like when I hear that Meg went to the gym after work for 3 days in a row .. I start to freak out about my own physical fitness and how I haven't been going. Thank god people aren't instagramming their sex lives the way they insta their fitness ... I would be an anxious dog.

    4. I think Becca's comparison to the waves we go through with mental health, exercise and sex is veeery interesting. It also has me worried because I honestly don't know if I'd rather go to the gym or have sex. Oh god.

      And I think Marijka is also right in saying that it is definitely a comparison thing. It's like when I hear that Meg went to the gym after work for 3 days in a row .. I start to freak out about my own physical fitness and how I haven't been going. Thank god people aren't instagramming their sex lives the way they insta their fitness ... I would be an anxious dog.

    5. I've never been to the gym three days in a row... there's a hairwashing issue in there.

    6. So I actually haven't minded this book at all so far. I have a 45 minute drive to and from work each day so I figured out how to get Siri to read ths out loud to me on the way. I'm picturing Robbie as an older and slightly more intellectual KJ Apa which is definitely getting me through. Meg I totally also connect with the quotes you pointed out. I'm eager to find out how their relationship is molded from here on out.

    7. I had to Google AJ Alpa,and I think Archie's dad is what I'm picturing for Robby. I think it's interesting that these characters seem to need to talk about sex more openly but Dory has actually held the belief that sex is too common place (for teenagers), and that it's tied with technology which h she both loves as a modern woman and hates as an English teacher. What I'm left thinking about the absence of discussion about their sex life is Dory's friends. Lots of women have other close women now to talk with about this stuff. Does Dory only have Robby and work friends? Will this abstinence push her to form close female friendships?
      I've enjoyed the psychological examinations that have taken up the first three chapters but I'm left wondering what route this plot will take. I want events to transpire, not just moments of life lived out - which could likely be the case.
      Lastly, as a member of a long-term relationship, I am surprised they have things to talk about after having so much of their life overlapping. I know this works because I believe my brother in law had this for the first few years of his relationship. They were vomitrocious but happy. I know I'm different and I like how different I am from D and we talk about stuff at the end of the day.

    8. Ouuu Chelsea I didn't know you were joining us!

      It will be interesting to see if this sexlessness brings Dory closer to some of her female friends. It does seem that she is pretty isolated except for her husband.

      Also, to answer Meg's question way above, I would be a spruce budworm on Farrest reppin' New Brunswick

    9. Chelsea you and Dan are also disgusting together but that's a whole other topic. I am thinking a lot about what you said about her bonding more with her female friends... or her daughter maybe? She doesn't seem to like her daughter that much.

      Sam- KJ is accurate although I think glasses also...

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  3. Clearly very behind on book club... and with no good excuse. I could pretend that I've been super busy with Brandon being cutesy but I don't think I'd be fooling anyone. I'll be keeping this short and sweet since I have lots of catching up to do.
    I agree with Meghan that one of my favourite parts so far is the description of this "spell" and how all these women are suddenly affected and turning their backs on their husbands in bed.

    I'm also confused about their daughter, for the first bit I just pictured them as the type of couple who would never have children and be completely focused on each other. Do we know how old she is? I'll admit I'm listening to the audiobook version while on my daily commute so... I'm prone to missing details.

    Lastly, I do agree with everyone about being more open to discussions about sex. The competitiveness and embarrassment associated with the topic of "how often" baffles me. Marijke, I love you comparing it to working out because I totally feel like I go through similar phases with both. Although the phases are much more pronounced with the gym because that's more like 3 days of working out and... 6 months of not. But.. you know what? If I only want to have sex 3 times every 6 months then who cares right?!